Thursday, July 15, 2021

Think Tanks Raking in Big Bucks From ExxonMobil

 Here is more from The New Republic (TNR):

Not everyone is happy about Unearthed’s recent exposé on ExxonMobil. Shortly after the Greenpeace-attached journalistic outfit published quotes top Exxon lobbyist Keith McCoy unknowingly gave to an undercover reporter about the oil giant’s attempts to shape climate policy, Brookings Institution Executive Vice President Darell M. West penned a blog post declaring that “using secret video recordings to embarrass opponents is undermining the health of our already ailing American democracy.” He also likened Unearthed to the right-wing sting operation Project Veritas.

West didn’t mention that Brookings received $100,000 from ExxonMobil last year, according to the oil company’s own disclosures. He also didn’t mention that, in parts of the transcript Unearthed did not publish but which they subsequently provided to The New Republic, Brookings is mentioned explicitly by McCoy as one of two think tanks his company is “actively involved in.”

In 2019, the Progressive Policy Institute received $50,000 from ExxonMobil but was not listed on this year’s report. Notably, the right-wing Manhattan Institute—funded as well by Trump backer Rebekah Mercer—is apparently no longer getting Exxon funds, after receiving $90,000 in 2019.

Other think tanks that Exxon donates to include: American Enterprise Institute (AEI), Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC), Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), and Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).  It also donates to dozens of colleges and universities.  Mr. McCoy named Brookings and CSIS as "key allies" of Exxon.

CFR's Lisa Shields said that Exxon is one of roughly 120 members of the think tank's Corporate Program.  Chevron, Shell, BP, ConocoPhillips, and Total are also corporate members.  Shields noted that corporate membership dues account for about 9% of CFR's total operating revenue.  [AEI says that around 10% of its revenue comes from corporations.]

Update: Brookings quietly took down the Darrell West post.